Black Orchard | The Bruery

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Black OrchardBlack Orchard
312 Ratings
Black OrchardBlack Orchard

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DoubleJ on 05-11-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 312 |  Reviews: 226
Photo of tendermorsel
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this as an excellent extra in a recent trade with errantnight. Thanks for the chance to try this one.

Poured into my Duval tulip glass.

This was a gusher. It nearly exploded when I opened it. The head was extremely at first but settled down nicely after a few minutes.

Dark brownish black in color. Smelled of wheat and dried fruits.

I have never had a beer this color be so light in flavor. This was quite a wheaty beer. The wheat was balanced well with delicate citrus and fruity notes. Oranges and apples and pears.

This was a very unique beer. Similar to a Dunklewizen in color mouthfeel and flavor yet similar to a Belgian Witbieir in terms of the yeasty flavor and fruity notes.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. Reccomended. I can't wait to try some more of the Bruery's beers at the Belgian beer fest.

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Photo of Beer-Zombie
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

the brew pours up a dark brown color with a tan head. the nose is roasted malts, subtle dry fruits. the taste is dark malts, very dry beer, dry darker fruits are not eluding my taste buds. The Bruery will have to wait for my return to try another....

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Photo of vurt
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a New Belgium glass. I was expecting the bottle to gush a bit, but it didn't. However, a gentle pour still raised a head that was 3 times taller than the liquid in the glass.

The head is a 3-inch tall mass of finely-beaded, cream-colored foam which collapses down into a dense cap which coats the inside of the glass like eggnog. The body is cola brown and murky, with ochre highlights.

Chocolate cake batter, tart red plums, wet earth, and pumpernickel toast. I also get red apples and light cloves, along with some bright acidity like a twist of orange peel. There is also some fresh-milled malt, complete with grain dust. Some cooked grain funkiness emerges as the beer warms.

Tart and wheaty at the start, followed by a hit of banana. Drier than I was expecting from the nose. Some tasty roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors come through in the middle as the tartness recedes and a hint of sweetness comes in. Still very witbier-like, though with noticeably richer malt and grain flavor. Finish is fruity and roasty with notes of cherries, muesli and coffee.

Carbonation is a bit rough at first, and gets in the way of the flavors, though it also manages to lighten up this medium-bodied brew. It is still a bit heavier/richer than you'd expect from a witbier.

I've had this beer on tap a couple times, but I'm enjoying it a lot more from the bottle. The tap version was a brash collection of flavors where the stronger tartness and muddled roasty flavors fought constantly. Letting the beer stand in the glass for a while to lessen the carbonation worked wonders for this beer's drinkability. Also, this benefits from a slightly warmer serving temperature. Perhaps this is a witbier for the beginning of autumn?

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Photo of number1bum
3.57/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up while on vacation in San Diego.

I'm glad I read the reviews for this beer before I opened it, because I took extra precautions to try to prevent gushing. I let it warm for 10 minutes or so, then opened over the sink and cracked the cap very slowly. It worked. It opened clean, poured clean and didn't gush. Pours a dark brown that is also somewhat translucent around the edges, with a fizzy couple inches of tan head. Head fizzes down to only a thin lace pretty quickly and doesn't leave much stick.

Smells like freshly baked chocolate cake, along with some coriander and maybe other spices, some orange zest and yeast. The alcohol is quite low here yet I do detect some alcohol in the nose, which is surprising.

The smell had a bit of sweetness to it but it doesn't show up in the taste, as it's quite dry, which combined with the fizzy carbonation doesn't really do it for me. It tastes a bit like a wit with some cocoa flavor added, which is what it's intended to I guess, but the coriander and orange are lighter than a typical wit, so overall it tastes a bit bland, watered down and overcarbonated. As it warms the carbonation settles down a bit which makes it more drinkable and allows the flavors to come out more, but still it's not really very complex, and not really very interesting. It's ok, but that's about all. If you are a big fan of wits then give this a try, but wits are take em or leave em for me, and this one I'd leave.

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Photo of Onslow
3.36/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

nice looking bottle, classic ... first sip, hmmm has a weird spritz to it ... Ranger McFriendly? .... dark, a dark witbier .. intresting ... pours a cark brown with a medium stable head, lacing is good too ... has tar, molasses, spice , is abit tart too ... an interesting brew to try..

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle; Sampled August 2008
As expected this beer is a gusher, a slow gusher I am easily able to pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip, but despite my fore-knowledge I still end up with only three-fingers of beer and a head that grows past seven fingers in height and overflows the tops of my glass. The head is a dingy, tan color and is quite creamy with some obvious staying power. The beer is a murky, dark brown color that shows a touch of amber highlights when held up directly to the light. The aroma smells of tart green apples, pear and sour plums with a backdrop of orange zest, substantial clove and some earthy coriander. A particularly deep whiff of the aroma leaves me with a prickly, almost burning sensation in my nose due to all the carbonation, but underneath this is a dusty, toasted malt, slightly roasted grain note that gets a touch sharp and even astringent some how.

By the time I sip the brew the carbonation has subsided to normal levels. The beer has a light tartness to it, though not as much as the aroma might have suggested and there is a light, dusty cocoa note here that comes through despite this beer being quite dry. Much cleaner tasting than I remember this being on tap, I think the yeast has settled out a bit more compared to that keg. Fruit flavors of plum seem most noticeable. The ample carbonation adds to the acidity found in this beer, though the tartness is not to the point where I would ascribe it to "wild bugs".

Despite being careful, my second pour ends up with a nice overflow of beer that ends up on my desk. The second pour seems to accentuate some fruit notes a bit more with notes of apple and even some raisin joining the note of plum. Spice notes of clove phenols are joined by an earthy spiciness that melds in with the dark malt notes of toasted grain and light roast character. Exceedingly light bodied, yet not watered down, this is extremely quaffable and is how I like an easy drinking modern Belgian Ale (despite the high final gravity or the early 20th century Wit). The new pour also introduces the ample carbonation that provides a peppery carbonic bite.

This is much more integrated and thus tasty than the draught sample of this that I first had. Interestingly enough, I wouldn't say that it is all that different tasting or smelling, it just works quite a bit better.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.13/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I popped the cap on this lovely 750ml bottle and was greeted by a huge flow of foam, losing a solid 8th of the bottle. The rest was poured into a Bruery tulip. Very deep brown, bordering on black, with a soda-popish 3 finger off-white head that quickly dissolves into nothing. No collar, no lace whatsoever. Nose is quite complex, with chocolate, tobacco, plum, black cherry, anise, coriander, and banana. The fruit and spice hit the palate first, with the chocolate and tobacco followng close behind. Mouthfeel is bright and crisp, but the high carbonation gives it a very club soda-like feel. The nice blend of flavors with the crispness of feel gives it a very high drinkability. Unique and tasty, one I would definitely revisit.

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Photo of errantnight
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not sure if "overcarbonated" is quite strong enough... knowing this was going to be a potential problem, I opened over the sink, poured myself a glass... and a few seconds later, there was a foam snake coming out the top of the bottle.

But it pours purrrdy deep, deep, brown, almost black. Slightly cloudy, just barely opaque around the edges with... well, there's enough foam that it can't be measured in fingers, but it goes bye bye quickly... almost a soda-ish fizz, although it's craggy and leaves some sweet organic lacing on the way down.

Aroma is a bunch of roast and chocolate amidst a rich, fruity ester forward goodness. Banana and ripe stone fruits, maybe a bit of bubble gum. And tobacco.

Initial tastes are obscured a bit behind the carbonation (catching a pattern?), a bit mineral-y and bitter. But once you get past the initial pour, and it warms a bit... this really opens up. It's almost like the IDA (India Dark Ale, Black India Pale Ale, whatever) in that if you were blind-folded you'd hardly tell, although there is some mild roasty flavor, it has a slightly citric note backing a yeast driven fruit flavor that ends in an appealing, black cherry tartness. Like a slightly richer... tart wit, honestly. There's some lingering sweetness on the tongue, but the carbonation provides a clean slate to each taste, which keeps bringing me back for more.

Medium bodied to be sure, but spritely carbonic.

They need to work on the carbonation a little... I'd like to see a little more protein for head retention... but it's an interesting, and unique drinking experience, that is damned tasty.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle purchased at Vendome Fullerton.

A- Poured into a Duvel tulip glass, this beer pours black with a massive three-finger head that resembles the color of sand. The head takes about fifteen minutes to settle to a thin layer that sticks around for the duration of the beer. There is no lacing left on the glass after each sip.

S- Crisp aromas of wheat malt, lemon rind, and grass are supported by notes of roasted malts and coffee. Some nice bready aromas emerge after a good swirl and also as the beer warms. The roasted coffee characteristic really shines through as the beer hits room temperature.

T- The initial taste is of dark fruits, roasted malts, and mild coffee. The second wave of flavors are of wheat malt, spicy yeast, and tangy citrus rind. The finish leaves some nice malty and cakey flavors on the palate.

M- The mouthfeel is exactly like Orchard White. It's way too sharp and prickly at first, but as the beer warms, the carbonation calms down substantially. Other than that, it's full-bodied and slightly coats the inside of the mouth.

D- This beer is a bit heavy on the stomach, but the 5.7% ABV and the refreshing flavors that are characteristic of most Witbiers make this a balanced, drinkable brew.

This is a totally unique beer. I loved the combination of dark malts with typical wheat beer ingredients. This brew just worked for me. Highly recommended.

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Photo of goschool
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park, CA.

Appearance: The pour is black-looking murky dark red topped by two fingers of frothy light brow head.

Smell: The nose has orange peel, fruity esters, yeast, light wheat notes along with dark chocolate, mocha, and plumb.

Taste: The flavor profile is completely inline with the aroma. I detected notes of semi-sweet chocolate, Colombian coffee, plumb, orange peel, esters, Belgian yeast, figs, and soft wheat.

Mouthfeel: It's light-bodied and dry with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a tasty and unique offering, however the dryness and the mix of roasted malt flavors and sharp witbier flavors make this a sipper to drink every once in a while rather than a quaffable everyday pint.

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Photo of charlzm
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Consumed at Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach CA, 05/21/08.

Nearly opaque black beer. A thin foamy skin floats atop the beer in the tulip glass. Some lacing.

Light, fruity aroma.

So this is a dark witbier, eh? I might have guessed schwarzbier if I had been given a blind taste. Sweet but only a little malty, and the malt had a subtle chocolate/cocoa character. Some fleeting, indistinct fruity notes. Not especially complex.

I must have been beered out this day, but I couldn't finish even one glass. Not a refreshing, easy drinker, though not especially heavy, either. An interesting experiment that must have hit me at a bad time. Will have to encounter this one again.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hollingshead's, a black white beer - interesting idea,

A: Pours black (really dark brown with burnt orange highlights) with a fizzy, short-lived light tan head.

S: Light orange peel, molasses.

T: The dark malt takes a backseat to the main flavours of this beer, but provides a backbone of dark rustic bread. Great orange notes, light acidity.

M: Light, spritzy, slightly acidic.

D: An interesting experiment that made quite a good beer from this new brewery in North County, very drinkable.

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Black Orchard from The Bruery
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 312 ratings